Can You Digit? Digital Sociology’s Vocational Promise

28 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2015

Date Written: February 22, 2015


The proliferation of digital technologies and augmented social relations offer great potential for the vocation of sociology. Although the greatest interest in the digital turn has centered on sources of data, digitality also provides many excellent methodological benefits as well as new and evolving subjects of analysis. This paper seeks to make the case for a more digitally-attuned sociology, and to forge a path in that direction. To accomplish this task, I begin with a brief history of digital sociology — in the U.S. and beyond — as well as a survey of other, related approaches that have gained greater traction in the field. Next, I examine the state of social life in the digitally networked era and make the case for sociology’s need to update its epistemological orientation to put an end to fetishisms of technology and the "real world." Finally, I outline an agenda for the future of digital sociology along with some suggestions for how it might be accomplished.

Keywords: ESS Digital Sociology

Suggested Citation

Barnard, Stephen, Can You Digit? Digital Sociology’s Vocational Promise (February 22, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Stephen Barnard (Contact Author)

Saint Lawrence University ( email )

One Romoda Drive
Canton, NY 13617
United States

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